Responding to Skepticism About Doxastic Agency
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My main aim is to argue that most conceptions of doxastic agency do not respond to the skeptic’s challenge. I begin by considering some reasons for thinking that we are not doxastic agents. I then turn to a discussion of those who try to make sense of doxastic agency by appeal to belief’s reasons-responsive nature. What they end up calling agency is not robust enough to satisfy the challenge posed by the skeptics. To satisfy the skeptic, one needs to make sense of the possibility of believing for nonevidential reasons. While this has been seen as an untenable view for both skeptics and anti-skeptics, I conclude by suggesting it is a position that has been too hastily dismissed.
I am grateful to the audiences at the Workshop on Doxastic Agency and Epistemic Responsibility, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, June 2–3, 2014, the Eidyn Epistemology Research Group, University of Edinburgh, October 1, 2014, and the participants in Erasmus Mayr’s colloquium at Humboldt University (Fall 2014) for helpful discussion of earlier versions of this paper. Thanks to Matthew Chrisman, Nioklaj Nottleman, Alexander Dinges, and Simon Gaus for their extensive comments on and discussion of earlier drafts. Finally, I would like to thank the anonymous referees for Erkenntnis for very helpful written comments.
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